Many foods are formed of complex, multiphase structures such as dispersions, emulsions and foams. Emulsions and foams often provide structure and texture, impart taste and flavor or deliver bioactive compounds. To create and stabilize emulsions and foams, amphiphilic molecules in the form of surfactants, emulsifiers and polymers are used. A wide range of synthetic or extracted surfactants and emulsifiers have been developed over the years that are highly effective at creating stable foams and emulsions. However, the move towards cleaner labels has driven alternative approaches using proteins and other naturally occurring emulsifiers. Although proteins are not always as effective at creating foams and emulsions, they have other advantages. The use of enzymes to alter the natural lipid composition of foods and to improve their functional properties is an innovative, emerging tactic. A range of approaches currently being developed to replace surfactants and emulsifiers in foods, their advantages and disadvantages and their potential for use in clean label foods were reviewed.
Professor Peter J. Wilde, Ph.D., Institute of Food Research speaking on “Label Friendly Emulsifiers” at the 2015 Clean Label Conference.